Ante Post Focus uploaded - Cheltenham Festival Week 4 uploaded - Paul's Blog & Andy Richmond's Beating The Bias uploaded - Sunday Race Previews & General Sports uploaded - Saturday Race Previews uploaded - Friday Race Previews uploaded
So, how are we all bearing up as we enter the fourth week of lockdown?
I’m keeping my sanity fairly well at present mainly through exercising five times a week on my bike, sorting the garden out once and for all and trying my hand at cooking new recipes. Since Cheltenham I would have given Chris Froome, Alan Titchmarsh and Jamie Oliver a good run for their money during the daytime!
If you follow the twitter feed at the bottom of the home page, you’ll also notice I have cut right back from watching box sets in the evenings (though I am making an exception for Homeland and Lilyhammer) to chilling out listening to music instead (better for the soul) with a different tipple each night and have resisted re-entering the internet poker scene, which has taken off again during this time. As some of you know, last year I wrote my 88-year-old dad's autobiography with him last year, which I enjoyed putting together over a number of sit-down sessions, and it's something I would like to do more of in time so I have been putting a plan together which will involve a Facebook page - something I have never had anything to do with before so that's all new to me!
The BHA are set to meet this week to discuss when a phased, regional return to racing behind closed doors can begin. I don’t think that many people believe that the original proposed return of May 1st is possible but hopefully they can get the show back on the road in the next six weeks in some format. The Guineas and Derby Meetings will be put back which I will then cover, though will this mean no Ballydoyle runners? They will look very different races if so.
As you know my plan this flat season was just to oversee Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood and the York Ebor Meeting as far as the race previews was concerned but, given that we will have been starved of racing for a couple of months I will now cover the same 30 big race days on the flat as usual, if they all go ahead. We can't really miss out Arc Day after last year can we? With the Guineas and Derby Meeting being put back, hopefully Royal Ascot will be as well rather than being run behind closed doors on the same dates (which officials stated last week is still on the table) as some of the races would doubtless be heavily affected.
Part reason why I had originally cut the amount of flat coverage this year (so therefore increased the jumps content) was because that now both our ‘children’ are 18+, for the first time since I set up this website almost five years ago, my wife and I had booked a fortnight summer holiday (when the Newmarket July Meeting and King George were set to take place) but, with that holiday being a cruise, that most certainly isn’t going to be happening anymore! Therefore it’s back to as you were for flat season coverage this year if they can fit in all the good stuff when it comes to rescheduling.
Up until the Easter break I kept things going with around three articles a week and I hope to carry on with that ratio to keep the website ticking over, though I am now starting to run out of content ideas until we get some live action. I doubled the size of the Cheltenham Festival ‘Wash Up’ over two parts and have already suggested two ante-post bets for next season’s meeting. I also edited the Adapt Or Die chapter a little From Soba To Moldova and uploaded it as a Blog for anyone to read.
Ante Post Focus will return on Wednesday and I will compile a list of Horses To Follow for the season prior to the flat getting going again based on my eye catchers from last year as for the first time will Andy Richmond ahead of restarting his Beating The Bias column.
Although things are going to be quieter over the next few weeks, we are set for a far busier than usual autumn with major sporting dates being rescheduled, though we have lost the Punchestown Festival, Open Championship, Wimbledon and Eurovision which have been cancelled for 2020. Yesterday we should have been enjoying the final day of The Masters, today we should have been getting stuck into the Irish Grand National and this coming weekend the World Snooker Championship was set to begin. The Irish Grand National is now set to take place sometime in the autumn so my Jumps Season coverage will start earlier than usual.
Three of the four golfing Majors have been rescheduled with the USPGA Championship set to take place in early August (which was its usual slot until they changed the golfing calendar last year moving it to May), the US Open is now staged for the second half of September the week immediately prior to the Ryder Cup (no date changes so it remains September 25-27) with The Masters now set to take place between November 12-15 which coincides with the end of the All-Inclusive Service for 90% of you so therefore still falls in this ‘season’ for the website as it were.
Of other events we cover, the World Snooker Championship has no new date as yet but the WPSBA were talking in terms of the summer before their new season begins in the autumn. The French Open tennis has been moved to the autumn so two weeks apart from the US Open. As for the Darts, the Premier League will reconvene in the autumn and no news yet on whether the World Matchplay, the big arrers event of the summer, will go ahead.
The Tour de France* is expected to be postponed from its July slot to the autumn rather than be cancelled and there will be no professional Cricket played before at least May 28th. England are set to host the West Indies in June, have a one-day series against Australia in July and then face in Pakistan in August. We also have the T20 World Cup to look forward to in October/November in Australia. As far as I know the NFL season will restart at its usual time in September.
Good to see that Premier League intend to finish the season, especially given our ante-post positions, but who knows when and how that will then impact on the 2020/21 season? The French look set to restart Ligue 1 on June 17th. It will certainly be a busy summer next year for us with Euro 2020 (as it still be called for merchandise purposes) moved to the same dates and the Olympic Games also put back a year.
Keep your spirits up and stay safe.
*Now set to start on August 29th